Cesar Millan is off the hook following a cruelty investigation in which a dog attacked a pig on his show, Cesar 911, on NatGeo Wild.
Millan, known as “The Dog Whisperer,” protested that the pig was not seriously harmed in the incident. NatGeo stood by their man, despite widespread criticism that the famous dog handler had handled the situation irresponsibly.
“I did nothing wrong,” Cesar exulted on Twitter.
Millan told Page 6 that he was pleased, but not surprised, by the news.
“Our animal handling procedures are safe and humane. Just like LA County Animal Control, my team and I are 100% dedicated to the proper care of all animals, including the farm pig in this case.”
The investigation lasted several weeks, during which time the District Attorney’s office reviewed a video of the attack, and talked to several witnesses.
Deemed “nothing more than an accident,” the incident was dismissed based on the fact that the pig’s bloodied ear was attended by a veterinarian and therefore “handled appropriately.”
Los Angeles County Animal Control found that my team & I did nothing wrong & no charges will be brought against us. https://t.co/ax9gLgn30G
— Cesar Millan (@cesarmillan) April 11, 2016
But the episode has riled dog trainers across the nation, who have decried Cesar’s methods for over a decade, according to this story in Inquisitr. Laura Nativo, a professional handler who organized a petition to cancel Millan’s show, commented on the video.
“It was really difficult to watch. It’s not the way to rehabilitate an animal that is fearful and aggressive to pigs.”
The pig-biting incident should serve as a “wake-up call” to dog trainers, according to Zak George and Dina Roth Port, co-authors of Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution.
“Regardless of what happens with this case, it’s true that Cesar Millan and many other traditional dog trainers continue to advise people to use force and intimidation to train dogs, basing their methods on dominance theory which relies on discomfort, even pain sometimes, to teach.”
The article goes on to point out that, “for dogs with aggression issues, studies have shown that using forceful methods will likely make the behaviors worse.”
“Cesar Millan will frequently argue that dogs need to be taught as if they’re simply members of a wolf pack. He says we need to be our dog’s pack leaders as though dogs adhere to this type of hierarchy. The truth is there is recent and credible science that shows Millan’s hypothesis is wrong. Millan’s ideas are based on an archaic understanding of wolf behavior that wolf researchers have long-since discredited.”
The blog post adds that wolf behavior is based on a family structure rather than force and dominance. “Any training ideology that relies on your being a ‘pack leader’ or an ‘alpha’ instead of a loving parent to your dog is misguided.”
“Focusing on the wolf ancestry rather than acknowledging the human influence in the domestic dog reflects a failure to acknowledge why the modern dog even exists at all.”
Despite this criticism, near the end of their statement, George and Roth Port throw Millan a bone.
“I’m sure that Millan’s heart is in the right place when he works with dogs, but neither of us has the luxury of being careless when we guide people. All professional dog trainers need to collectively raise the standards in how we teach dogs by keeping up with the latest scientific and ethical advancements in our craft.”
By Nancy Bailey